Thunken Philosofers

Thunken Philosofers in the back of a police car
Episode 9 - AACB?

Have a few bad apples spoiled the bunch? We discuss the historical role of police in American society and whether there is a need for change in this first installment of our series on policing.

Show Notes:

  • History of Policing in the United States
    • Neighborhood watchmen were some of the earliest examples of “police” in the US, going all the way back to the original colonies
      • A neighborhood watch was typically set up in towns and urban areas to deter criminal activity at night and being assigned to one was often a form of punishment
    • The earliest “police departments” with dedicated officers were in the Carolina colonies in 1704 and functioned strictly as slave patrols
      • These slave patrols would capture escaped slaves and bring them back to their owners and would terrorize black communities with the intent of stopping future uprisings
    • The first official police force in the US was in Boston in 1838 followed soon after by New York in 1845
      • These were primarily set up in response to an influx of immigrants to the US from Europe and abroad and to protect property
    • The early 1900s marked the beginning of a new police system. August Vollmer stressed the importance of sociology, social work, psychology, and management in police work. Vollmer also made sure policemen went to college and even created a separate system for juveniles to be tried and punished instead of trying them as adults.
  • Policing today
    • Police today are used for a wide range of situations that often go beyond what historically has been expected of a law enforcement official
  • Warrior vs Guardian mindset
    • A warrior mindset approaches the street like a battlefield and civilians as potential shooters.
    • The guardian mindset treats everyone as a fellow citizen who needs to be protected and uses de-escalation as their primary tool in tense situations


What does ‘defund the police’ mean and does it have merit? – The Brookings Institution

There’s a growing call to defund the police. Here’s what it means – CNN

Defunding the Police Will Actually Make Us Safer – ACLU

Protests against police have broken out across the country. Here’s how policing has evolved in the US since its beginnings in the 1600s. – Insider

Here’s What You Need to Know About Breonna Taylor’s Death – The New York Times

Data-driven evidence on warrior vs. guardian policing – Science Daily

Warriors vs. Guardians: A seismic shift in policing or just semantics? – Police One

Warrior Or Guardian? –

Boston Massacre – Britannica

Boston Massacre –

Fred Hampton (August 30, 1948 – December 4, 1969) – National Archives

The police raid that killed two Black Panthers, shook Chicago and changed the nation. – The Washington Post

‘The Murder Of Fred Hampton’ Still Has Much To Teach, Watch It Here – Forbes